Star Trek: The Next Generation (1992) – Time’s Arrow Part II, and Realm of Fear

Captain’s log: stardate 46001.3

Season six of Star Trek: The Next Generation got underway with the resolution of the season five cliffhanger, Time’s Arrow, on 21 September, 1992. The season opener was penned by Jeri Taylor from a story by Joe Menosky.

Picard (Patrick Stewart), Riker (Jonathan Frakes), Troi (Marina Sirtis), Crusher (Gates McFadden) and Geordi (LeVar Burton) travel through the alien vortex to the 19th century Earth in the hope’s of recovering Data (Brent Spiner) and putting an end to the alien attack on humanity at the time.

Jerry Hardin returns as the nosy Samuel Clemens.

Star Trek always has fun with time travel stories, and there are some fun moments throughout it, and the cast probably enjoyed being out of their uniforms and getting into period costumes.

The group investigate the deaths that the aliens are causing, while trying to track down Data, and a Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg) who hasn’t met any of them yet. Stewart gets to play to his comedic strengths as Picard while he deals with a landlady (Pamela Kosh) who wants the rent, he and the rest pose as a touring acting troupe.

The aliens feed off of the electro-chemical energy of the nervous system, and they are hiding their murders amongst cholera victims.

The crew find a vortex back to the future and test it out, and Clemens tags along (making commentary on future society – before returning to his own time), that is, after it’s opening causes the past to come true when Data loses his head.

Eventually the aliens are thwarted, the crew and Data are restored to their time, and a long friendship between Guinan and Picard begins.

It’s not as big and exciting a season opener as I would have liked, but it is a solid story, and very entertaining.

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Captain’s log: stardate 46041.1

Airing on 28 September, 1992, Realm of Fear saw the return of Reg Barclay (Dwight Schultz) in this episode that was written by Brannon Braga.

Barclay is dealing with yet another one of her fears in this episode, that of the transporter. He’s always anxious about using it. This time he may be right when the Enterprise investigates the research ship USS Yosemite that went missing while exploring plasma streams.

Beaming to the ship, with an extended transport because of the plasma streams, Barclay sees something in the transport beam, an eel-like creature.

Unfortunately no one believes him. Troi (Marina Sirtis) tries to help him deal with his issues, but no one really believes he’s seen something until he’s attacked during transport.

As he struggles with his fear, and debating whether or not he may be delusional, he finally turns to the rest of the crew. And he’s right.

There are what they think are microbes trapped in the transporter buffer that were stuck there by an explosion aboard the Yosemite. Data and Geordi, along with O’Brien (Colm Meaney) figure out a way to remove the microbes from him and the buffer. But they aren’t microbes… it’s a nice reveal when it happens.

It’s a fun episode, and it’s always a delight when Barclay shows up.

The Human Adventure continues next week…

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